Welcome new admittees to the Vermont Bar! Although the annual swearing-in ceremony wasn’t able to be held in-person this year, the Vermont Supreme Court recently conducted a virtual swearing-in for over 50 proud new admittees to the Vermont Bar.
The ceremony began with Board of Bar Examiner Chair Keith Kasper moving the admission of the admittees. Chief Justice Paul Reiber granted the motion and proceeded to virtually administer the Oath for Admission to the Bar to the admittees; lawyers in attendance joined in the process.
Following the oath, Justice Karen Carroll gave eloquent remarks, noting the admirable goals associated with the profession: “Lawyers are the defenders of the Constitution, the guardians of our liberty and the advocates for the disadvantaged. Lawyers protect the powerless. Lawyers ensure that the innocent are not jailed, that the weak are not preyed upon, that children remain safe in their homes, and that victims of crime are heard. Lawyers fight daily for fairness and against injustice.”
Offering insights occasioned by her being a member of the Vermont bar for over 30 years, Justice Carroll noted the many responsibilities unique to the profession, and the challenges of maintaining civility and professionalism during times when incivility and unprofessionalism are on full display in the culture. She emphasized the importance of lawyers comporting themselves in a way that reflects well on the profession: “If I can stress one thing to you today, it is that I hope you will begin now to consider and work toward how you wish to be perceived as an attorney. Don’t view the practice of law as a competition. Treat your adversaries with respect. Listen to and learn from your colleagues and opposing counsel and understand that each of us are doing the best we can to make sense of a changing world. Be open to and consider the ideas of others; reject them if you must but do so in a civil and professional manner. Value your reputation among your colleagues, other practitioners and the court. Make a concerted effort to be civil and professional. It will be noticed.”
Justice Carroll also encouraged the new admittees to use their legal knowledge and talents to serve the public, either through organizations serving those in need or through court programs designed to provide representation to indigent litigants. She ended by emphasizing the importance of lawyers taking care of themselves while immersed in a challenging profession: “Finally, and most importantly, take care of yourself. You are about to enter some of the most rewarding, but challenging years of your life and these challenges will continue. Make a plan now to take time for yourself. Keep active but also take time to relax and get away from the law. Find that one person with whom you can commiserate but do it in moderation. Most importantly, keep yourself focused on and passionate about what brought you here today.”
Justice Carroll then introduced VBA Executive Director Teri Corsones, who encouraged the new admittees to take full advantage of the many opportunities to get involved in the bar, including the varied low bono and pro bono programs offered through the VBA. She offered to mail the VBA materials normally provided in person at the swearing-in ceremonies, including the “On Your Own” booklets published by the Young Lawyers Division and the Pocket Constitutions distributed to Vermont school and civic groups in conjunction with Constitution Day each September. Citing the VBA motto “Serving the Public and the Profession”, she noted how proud the VBA is to welcome the newest Vermont lawyers into that service.
For the full text of Justice Carroll’s remarks, click HERE.